James McAvoy reveals why shooting His Dark Materials was 'a nightmare'

Danny Thompson
Lord Asriel (JAMES McAVOY)

With the long awaited TV adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials set to hit screens early next month, star James McAvoy has revealed shooting his scenes occasionally proved to be something of “a nightmare”.

A recent trailer for the series gave gave a glimpse into the heavy costumes worn on the show - and McAvoy has revealed getting used to them wasn’t always easy.

Speaking to the media at a recent press conference for the series, the former Shameless actor explained how wearing Arctic clothing when the weather is hot isn’t ideal.

Read more: BBC's His Dark Materials release date announced

He said: "I seem to remember it being roasting.

"It was unseasonably hot. And I’m dressed for the Arctic North, in many layers of wool.

"But then I decided to make the ridiculous choice of tucking in my jumper. And it was a nightmare."

Lee Scoresby (LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA), Lyra Belacqua (DAFNE KEEN) - (C) Bad Wolf - Photographer: Alex Bailey

14-year-old Dafne Keen, who is playing Lyra Belacqua, also discussed the series. She explained how her double for the series looked so much like her, people would get confused over who was the real Dafne.

She said: "We had the same first day. So for me, it was really funny, because I was sitting outside of the set. And I had this amazing double called Eloise who really looks like me. We were sitting next to each other.

Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda and James McAvoy at "His Dark Materials" Comic Con Autograph Signing 2019 at the 50th San Diego Comic Con International Convention at the San Diego Convention Center July 18, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)

"So this AD comes out, and they take Eloise. And suddenly I hear from inside, 'THIS ISN’T DAFNE!' And I’m like, 'Oh my God…' I literally walk in, and then I see a hand coming out, and they’re all like, 'Thank God. We’re ready.'"

Read more: His Dark Materials voice cast revealed

The series is based upon Pullman’s cult trilogy, which started with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the US) in 1995. It was followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

As well as Keen and McAvoy, the series will also star Fleabag star Andrew Scott Poirot’s David Suchet and Peaky Blinders matriarch Helen McCrory.

His Dark Materials starts on BBC One on 3 November. In the US in premieres on HBO on 4 November.